The culture into which children are born determines the roles of their parents, structures their relationships with other people and determines much of the behavior patterns they acquire. The extent that these young people are prepared for their future roles as responsible adults is the challenge facing society today. The abuse of drugs has been always an international problem because it has never been possible to confine drugs to their place of origin. Market forces have contributed to the high mobility of drugs used in different societies.
Modern technology including transportation and communication has increased and facilitated drug mobility. More people than ever travel and are exposed to the drug-taking practices of other cultures. The drugs themselves, particularly in their modern, potent form, can be transported easily and safely. The influence of rapid urbanization and increased contact with cultural influences from other countries are seen to be setting the stage for the marked transformation of the social fabric and cultural values of Tanzanians.
The change from traditionally ceremonial to commercial and recreational use of alcohol and cannabis from being used as medicine and food to recreational use has contributed a great deal to drug usage among young people in Tanzania. Whereas during the late sixties and early seventies cannabis users were less than one percent, this figure has changed to about five percent among school children.
Market forces have overpowered our traditional social networks. Children and adolescents have been the prime marketing target for the tobacco and alcohol industries. As long-term smokers succumb and an increasing number of survivors give up smoking, the pool of smokers nevertheless seems to be replenished in order to maintain the profits of the industry.